March 9, 2017
Dear Commissioner Piwowar,
My name is Ellen Bresnick and I am currently a high school senior in Middleton, WI. Throughout my high school career, I have seen many passionate individuals, both in my community and beyond, strive to find opportunities for global civic engagement. I myself have been a vocal advocate for human rights in the international community. I have been fortunate enough to be on the planning committee at the Human Rights Week hosted by my school each year. Along with planning, I have also had the opportunity to speak at this week each year on an issue I am particularly passionate about, conflict minerals.
Conflict minerals, tungsten, tin, tantalum, and gold ore, are found in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). The DRC has the highest levels of sexual violence in the world, as well as the largest death toll due to one cause since WWII, with 5.4 million people killed. Conflict minerals only serve to exacerbate this issue, serving as sustainable sources of income for rebel groups who promulgate violence.
When I was a junior in high school I passed a resolution in my school district. This resolution indicated its support for investing in conflict free products and a conflict free market, taking a stand against the mass atrocities being committed in the DRC. Next year, when I continue my studies at Washington University in St. Louis, I will continue to work with like minded individuals who also care about this issue.
Consumer pressure is only effective if there are mechanisms of transparency in place and Section 1502 of the Dodd Frank Wall Street Reform Act is accomplishing this. Transparent supply chains are an important indicator of a companys overall stability, which is a key factor for making both purchasing and investment decisions. I urge you to keep the Conflict Minerals Rule fully intact, and to work with your fellow SEC commissioners to enforce the Rule moving forward. Thank you for your time.